29 March 2017

Fishbowl Living: Pebbles Of Truth (Book Review)

What I love most about ACF is meeting clergy family members. I love hearing their experiences, understanding their challenges and learning how they enjoy the good and work through the hard. Fishbowl Living is like having one of those conversations...
It is written by a clergy spouse and business woman in the US, who has thoughtfully made this book a short read (61 pages) with helpful titles. She outlines 12 pebbles (aka truths) that have helped and inspired her throughout her Christian walk, with some fun personal stories and challenging questions along the way.
Initially I was drawn to the book as the title suggested it discussed living in a fishbowl: an experience that many clergy families face of feeling like everyone is watching and judging their life, particularly within the clergy household. After reading Fishbowl Living however, I've come to understand that the analogy is actually used to describe the author's desire to live a transparent, Christian life instead of discussing the specifics of clergy family life. Drawing on her experiences in ministry, family and running a business, she explores topics such as accountability, loving others, and honesty.

My concern with advice books often comes when authors attempt to make their experience into one that suits everyone's unique situation. While there are general truths that apply to many, not every experience can apply to everyone. In personal advice books such as these, there needs to be a clear element that the advice is theirs, and not the only way to approach a situation or lifestyle.

Fishbowl Living claims that the 12 pebbles are "eternal truths" that have brought the author success and triumph in all areas of life. While this success may be true for her, I don't agree with the author's suggestion that the pebbles are therefore "eternal truths" that everyone (especially Christians) should spend their lives chasing. I wasn't convinced that the triumph and success that came through using her pebbles were necessarily measures of a good faith walk, particularly as only five truths were based on a bible verse.

While this book doesn't give particular insights into clergy family living, Fishbowl Living is a great conversation with the author about her Christian walk and how she navigates complicated situations.

Have you read it? What did you think of it? :)
~ Rachel

www.australianclergyfamilies.com -- a community of support & encouragement

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